It was odd that Harriet should always have been so fond of curates. They were so immature and always made the same kind of conversation. Now the Archdeacon was altogether different...'Together yet alone, the Misses Bede occupy the central crossroads of parish life. Harriet, plump, elegant and jolly, likes nothing better than to make a fuss of new curates, secure in the knowledge that elderly Italian Count Ricardo Bianco will propose to her yet again this year.
Belinda, meanwhile has harboured sober feelings of devotion towards Archdeacon Hochleve for thirty years. Then into their quiet, comfortable lives comes a famous librarian, Nathaniel Mold, and a bishop from Africa, Theodore Grote - who each take to calling on the sisters for rather more unsettling reasons.
©1950 Barbara Pym (P)2012 Magna
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"Even better when read aloud!"
I've loved this book for years. Hearing it read aloud gave me a new appreciation of all the humour and the little details and nuances which sometimes don't get picked up when read for oneself.
Don't look for an exciting plot line - there isn't one. Instead it's just a magnificent portrait of life in a small English village in the 1950s. Pym's first published work, this was written when she was comparatively young, and imagining herself, her sister and friends as much older incarnations of themselves. The result is a wonderfully funny and sometimes unexpectedly touching picture of how she thought they might all turn out one day. It's a joy.
All characters are well written, and I was so pleased that Patience Tomlinson does them full justice.
"A charming reassuring tale of normality."
I love barbara pym and am downloading all her books. I have read them all many times
but having the audio books saves the weird glasses indentation on my nose every morning!!!
Oh, I love the village fete and the marrow angst.
all of them equally.
I laugh out loud and snigger into my night time camomile.
I am a complete convert to audio books...hooray for them, my life is enhanced no end...
"It's not about the story..."
It's about the behaviour of the characters. Deliciously observant, delicately ironic, nicely read. If you enjoy Mapp and Lucia and if you love Somerset Maugham for his lack of illusions, this is for you. (If you require action and excitement, it's not). A wonderfully enjoyable listen which is hardly dated at all, because it is about people who are very believable.
Despite the headline I am giving the story two stars, as I don't want to drag the rating down.
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